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07 March 2013

INTERPOL and EU project to enhance border security in Libya takes off

TRIPOLI, Libya – Senior INTERPOL, EU and Libyan officials have inaugurated the connection of an INTERPOL real-time passport control capacity at Tripoli International Airport as part of international efforts to improve Libyan border security.

Under INTERPOL’s EUR 2.2 million Project RELINC (Rebuilding Libya’s Investigative Capability) funded by the EU, Libyan border control authorities will be able for the first time to directly access INTERPOL’s global database to detect stolen and lost passports, enabling the instant identification of persons seeking to conceal their true identity, including internationally wanted persons, suspected terrorists and transnational criminals. 

INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Document (SLTD) database contains some 36 million documents shared by 166 countries worldwide, and is accessed  more than 50 million times each month by law enforcement authorities around the world.

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said: "This new EU-INTERPOL programme is an excellent example of the kind of practical support the EU and its partners are offering to Libya. It responds in real time to real needs, it makes available world class expertise and brings tangible benefits to both sides."

“Libya’s transition towards security is threatened by transnational organized crime and terrorism,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“INTERPOL’s initiative with the EU and Libyan authorities is a significant step forward because it will enhance Libya’s ability to identify and investigate criminal and terrorist activity which can impact the entire region,” added the Head of INTERPOL.

The 18-month long Project RELINC, initiated in September 2012, is being run from the Office of the Special Representative of INTERPOL to the European Union, with support from INTERPOL’s Middle East and North Africa unit and its Information Systems directorate at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.

In addition to establishing remote access to INTERPOL’s databases at strategic borders, key components of the project include:

  • Performing a wide assessment of the threats posed to Libya by transnational organized crime and terrorism, to support the Libyan government and police in identifying strategic enforcement objectives;
  • The development of a sustainable operational Crime Analysis Unit within the Libyan police’s Criminal Investigation Department ;
  • Reinforcing the capacity of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Tripoli to make optimal use of the INTERPOL network and policing tools ;
  • Building a prototype police criminal database within police headquarters to enable the Libyan police to efficiently store and share criminal information;
  • Raising the awareness of and training the Libyan police on the international police cooperation tools and mechanisms provided by INTERPOL.

The inauguration ceremony, led by Libya’s General Manager of Passports and Immigration, Brigadier Issa Hammad, was also attended by the EU’s Managing Director for Crisis Response, Agostino Miozzo; INTERPOL Special Representative, Pierre Reuland; the Head of Project RELINC, Olivier Bertrand; and the Head of INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Libya, Colonel Abdulhamid al Ghazali.